posts 1 - 15 of 48
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 301


Readings (select 2 of the 4 short articles to read):


Background:

For any of you who missed class on Wednesday, September 14, we watched a clip from 60 Minutes called “The Bad Samaritan” (from 0:00-5:39).


Eighteen-year-old David Cash chose to walk away as his friend, fellow eighteen-year-old Jeremy Strohmeyer, assaulted and murdered Sherrice Iverson, age 7, in the women’s restroom of a Nevada casino at 3 in the morning on Sunday, May 25, 1997. He told the Los Angeles Times when his friend was arrested that he was “not going to lose sleep over someone else’s problems.”


Clearly what Jeremy Strohmeyer did was reprehensible. But what David Cash did was to be a bystander, not to be a rescuer or a resistor in any way. One can only speculate what might have happened had Cash more actively intervened. But according to Nevada law at the time, he was under no legal obligation to do otherwise.


It’s remarkable to listen to David Cash’s words when interviewed on a Los Angeles radio station after his friend Jeremy Strohmeyer was arrested and convicted. Cash remarked, “It’s a very tragic event, okay? But the simple fact remains: I do not know this little girl. I do not know starving children in Panama. I do not know people that die of disease in Egypt. The only person I knew in this event was Jeremy Strohmeyer, and I know as his best friend that he had potential…I’m not going to lose sleep over somebody else’s problem.”


Your task for this post:

As awful as the Sherrice Iverson murder was, we would like to hear your views on the situation.


  • What do you think should have governed Cash’s actions? What obligations does a person who witnesses another wrong have? Are there different rules depending on the nature of the “wrong”?
  • Can you identify what “rules”—legal or otherwise—ought to govern the decision to act or merely to witness. Do we have an obligation to act—sometimes, rarely, occasionally, always? Explain.
  • Choose at least 2 of the readings listed above (all are uploaded to Google classroom and attached to the post), read them and integrate what you learn from them into your response. Be certain to cite the authors or titles as you reference them so we all recognize the references.

Write your post on the discussions.learntoquestion.com site IN YOUR CLASS SECTION. Be sure to respond to the views of at least two other classmates (if you post first, go back and do a second posting responding to two comments posted after yours). You can respond to your classmates within your post OR you can do a separate (additional) post just to respond to them. Be sure you cite who you are responding to!


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RockPigeon
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 4

Assignment: The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

People should be motivated by basic human sympathy for others to act whenever they see harm being done, especially to another person, but really in any situation. This does not always have to mean getting physically involved, as there are certainly some situations where one would be unqualified or unable to help, or their actions could put others at risk, and a better and more helpful course of action would be to call 911 or find someone more qualified. In this specific case, David Cash did none of these things, and, almost as bad, seemed to show no remorse for his lack of action in his later interviews. I would agree that walking in on a trusted friend doing something that horrific would be completely shocking. I myself might be too stunned to respond immediately or as well as I would have liked. However, that in no way excuses Cash’s continued lack of action that night, and over the next several days. It would be a different story if Cash, too stunned, shocked, etc. to immediately separate Jeremy from Sherrice, came out of the bathroom completely panicked, and went to find security and call for help. It would even have been better to tell the police, or at least his dad, after Jeremy confessed to him. To me, almost the most startling piece of Cash’s side of the story is the fact that, even years later, he accepts no responsibility for his lack of action that resulted in Sherrice’s death.


I believe someone who witnesses a wrong always has a responsibility to act. As a certified lifeguard myself, I feel like I have a larger obligation to act, both legally and morally. During our training, both from Red Cross and from the Massachusetts DCR, we were told that obviously while we were at work, as well as if we wear any part of our uniform in public, we are legally required to act in the event of an emergency, as our clothing would single us out as “authority figures.” If we are out in public in regular attire, and witness something happening that would require our assistance, we have the option to be a good samaritan and intervene, but are not legally required to. That is part of what I found most shocking about the article on what happened on the 36 bus, as the bus driver, also in the employ of the state of Massachusetts, must have received nearly the same lecture on legal and moral responsibility as I did, and yet still chose to do nothing, despite being in uniform and on the job.


It was also notable that none of the other people on the bus chose to step in. This ties into Deborah Stone’s explanation of the bystander effect, as people seem to often either expect someone else to step in, or justify their lack of action by others who are doing the same. That is also something that we were warned about during our training. One of the first parts of the emergency action protocol at any pool is dialing 911. The responding lifeguard is not supposed to do this themselves, as they are supposed to be starting their examination and medical response, but, if no other lifeguards are in the area, has to ask pool patrons to call 911 instead. However, we are instructed to do this in a very specific way, by making eye contact and naming a describing feature (e.g. “you, in the green shirt”), because if one just yells “someone call 911,” often no one will, as they would expect someone else to do it. I definitely find it interesting, and concerning, that the bystander effect is so well documented that it has become part of government and medical procedure.


I know I'm posting a bit on the early side, I'll circle back and reflect on more of the posts later in the week.

autumnpeaches
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I believe that one's morals should govern one's actions, and that depends on how low your bottom line is. Some people's bottom line stops at minuscule things like cheating, littering, or even bad-talking a teacher. In those cases, they would immediately tell the teacher or confront the perpetrator themselves. My bottom line is pretty low. I wouldn't call someone out for cheating, but I'd definitely call the police when someone's dying on the streets. However, in David Cash's case, he simply had no morals at all. Not only did he not stop Jeremy, but he also didn't tell anyone, didn't call for help, nor did he feel remorse. I'd like to say that his situation is vastly different from the two articles I've read, the first being "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and the second "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Both articles discuss how we, as humans, often don't help when there are other people around because we think that "there's always going to be someone else who will do it". Whether you agree with this line of logic is up to you, but David Cash was the only other person in the bathroom besides the victim, Sherrice, and the perpetrator, Jeremy, yet he didn't do anything. Therefore, this logic of the "bystander effect" does not apply to him.


I'm a little ashamed to say this, but I've also been a part of the "bystander effect" at least once in my life. Whether you see people arguing on the MBTA, students cheating on their tests, or even teachers smoking right outside the school during their break, I simply turn a blind eye and put it to the back of my mind because it's not my problem. I'm not going to intervene in a fight and get punched myself. It's different though when it's a first-degree crime. How do you define a first-degree crime? Well in my books it's sexual assault, physical assault, kidnapping, and murder. Then you're morally obligated to call 911 or intervene (if you have the courage). Imagine you're alone with your best friend whom you've known for YEARS, just for him to do something like that, and you won't even stop him? Who cares if you have AP English together, can't you see what he's doing is morally wrong? The story of Nightmare on the 36 Bus was truly disappointing. Didn't those people realize that if 4 or 5 people banded together, they could've taken down the abuser? I mean, how strong can 1 man be when compared to 5 people. Yet they all stood and watched, and not one person call the police after. The bystander effect is truly terrifying.

Steely Gibbs
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I believe that Cash's actions should've been governed by common sense in a way. The fact that he was unaware or inept at understanding the situation in the first place is shocking. A person's obligation to seeing something that stands out like this is to act. It isn't as easy as it sounds, but Cash didn't put in any effort into making that a reality. There are different rules depending on the wrong. Something that is seemingly minute in scale compared to what happened in "The Bad Samaritan" definitely has different responses. I feel like the levels start with telling someone to stop and trying to intervene passively. The type of response correlates to the type of wrongdoing. I think the rules should be as simply as "is it wrong by society?". Obviously there may be some exceptions and the people in the altercation can explain that if you try to intervene. I feel like there should always be an obligation to act, but that just isn't reasonable in my opinion. There should be an obligation to act majority of the time. The two readings I chose were "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Brian McGrory talked about how there wasn't an intervention on the 36 bus when a kid was getting hit. Everyone sat there awkwardly and didn't act. This ties into my point of that people should act most of the time as well as it being wrong by society. Having an obligation to act majority of the time means that some people do and some people don't given the situation. This would allow for the altercation to be handled with the best chance of diffusing it. Judy Harris wrote about bystanders watching a building burn and no one going to help. This falls into my idea of trying to quantify the scale of the incident. It doesn't seem to be on the same scale as the other two mentioned in this post. No one seems to be in harm's way directly. Someone did take the time to act in this reading, which is different from the last two. There wasn't just a nameless group of bystanders watching what happened. One question I have for this is why did someone react to the fire, but not the assaults? Were they less intimidated because they didn't think that the fire would actually hurt them? If anyone can suggest a reason for this, please continue the conversation.

ilovesharks44
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think that compassion should have governed Cash's actions. It's such a basic idea, but it’s apparently something that he chose to overlook at that moment. Without compassion, can someone really interact with other people in a human way? By turning a blind eye, David Cash rid himself of any compassion and let himself turn into a bystander. As a witness and a bystander, David Cash was, if not legally obligated, then at the very least morally obligated to stop his friend from committing this horrifying act. Just like in the case of the 36 bus, any simple gesture from a phone call to his father or 911 to a shake of Jeremy's shoulder to get his attention could have spared Sherrice Iverson's life and in the case of the 36 bus, saved the young boy from abuse.


In ‘The Samaritan’s Dilemma’, the author talks about the instinct that an onlooker feels when witnessing a situation where they could be of help. When people feel this gut instinct that they should jump into a situation, they are personally responsible for acting on it. Obviously David Cash felt this feeling or he wouldn’t have admitted to half heartedly trying to get Jeremy Strohmeyer’s attention. Unlike the examples in the passage, Cash chose not to act on this feeling and in doing so failed to fulfill his personal responsibility as a human being. There is obviously a range as to when that action is necessary, however, it extremely obvious that the feeling when witnessing a physical assault and/or murder is quite easily distinguishable from the feeling you may get when you witness someone cheating on a test or telling a small lie. While it will ultimately be an individual decision (to act or to not act), the obvious truth is that as a person with human feelings, you will experience that gut instinct and know when to step in.

fancyclown
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 3

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Brian McGrory "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" Boston Globe, Jan 25 2000

Judy Harris "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" WBUR Cognoscenti June 5, 2015

I would have to agree with everyone who has responded so far, that Cash's actions should've been governed by compassion, common sense, and sympathy. What Strohmeyer did is unforgivable, and the fact that Cash was able to so easily write it off is astounding. I do believe that there are different rules depending on the nature of the "wrong" doing, like we went over in class, cheating on a test or shoplifting from a Claire's are not at all comparable to raping and murdering a 7 year old girl. Cash held an equal power level to Strohmeyer and could have easily intervened and gotten him to stop, or told his father, or reported the crime. Strohmeyer did not hold any advantage over Cash that prevented Cash from stepping in, and yet he didn't. I believe that the greatest factor in this difference is who is being directly affected by the wrong-doing. For example, by cheating on a test the main person affected is yourself. You are choosing to take the risk of getting caught and being punished, you are deciding to sacrifice your academic integrity to receive a better grade. I understand the argument that it is unfair to other students who might've studied harder than you and didn't cheat, but regardless, they will still receive a good grade, as will you, yours simply isn't honest. In the terms of shoplifting, if you are stealing from a major company, they almost certainly account for a certain amount of products taken but not purchased. And in many cases, the major company isn't ethical themselves, in this day and age almost any business that isn't small or locally run uses sweatshops, unfair labor, or contributes to climate change in some way. This is not the case if it is in fact a small business, ran by one or a few people, without the funds to account for missing merchandise and that is not contributing to unethical services. Therefore, I believe that unless someone is being directly harmed by another person's wronging, it is not necessary for the witness to be an upstander. Although it is all up to their own morals in that case.

I think that yes, in an instance of assault (ranging from an unprovoked physical attack to rape/murder) against someone else, there should be a law in place that requires the witness to report the crime. However, in the instance of a physical fight, sometimes it is clearly nothing more than a physical fight. Thus, while able bystanders should intervene and try to stop it, if it was a mutual decision to fight right then and no one was seriously injured, I do not think it necessary to be reported. To better explain this, in Brian McGrory's January 25th, 2000 article "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" when the boy was being repeatedly attacked by the older man, someone on the bus should've intervened, and someone should've reported it. This is a case of unfair advantage, the boy was clearly powerless in this situation, it was not a mutual fight, and it is impossible to know how far the man might've gone, possibly eventually killing the boy. It is also important to note that by not reporting this crime, the witnesses are (in a way) putting the boy in danger. It is unclear if that man was his father, but regardless, by not reporting it, the boy could continue to suffer at the hand of the man for a long time. On the other hand, in Judy Harris' 2015 article "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" I disagree with Harris' belief that the people taking pictures should've done more. I used to live in the house to the left of that building, the one that was on fire. I lived there when it happened. Although I don't remember much and I wasn't present when the fire occurred, I think it's important to recognize that not all of those people who were taking pictures could be physically or mentally capable to run in and try to help. It's great that that man was able to, and everyone was able to evacuate the property. Some of those people on their phones could've been alerting the fire department, or 911, but they weren't directly aware that someone was in harm's way.

Babybackribs
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Assignment: The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Cash's morals have clearly been put into question as he didn't understand the basic principle of saving someone's life who is clearly in danger. He should've immediately grabbed the girl away from Strohmayer or called 911 to arrest his friend for committing something so horrific. There are a variety of different scenarios that determine how a friend should act. But in the case of rape, Cash should understand that he is responsible for holding his friend accountable. As a witness you rarely have the obligation to intervene. Only in situations where someone is being physically harmed do you have the obligation to intervene, no matter your stance with the person. An example of this can be seen in the 'Nightmare on the 36 Bus' . In this situation dozens of people on the bus watched as a father brutally punched his son repeatedly in the face. Although these people did not completely understand the context of the situation, they repeatedly watched as a man nearly killed a kid, and it is inexcusable to not intervene because you don't understand the context. Even though the bus bystanders were sympathetic and Cash had no sympathy, the outcomes were the same as one child is living a life of constant abuse which is arguably as bad as a child being killed. During an age when we live off and constantly rely on our phones, we find it apparent to document everything we see on social media. Arguably one of the worst forms of being a bystander is through video documentation. It's a bad habit that almost everyone has, and it leads to people being self centered (ie: cell phone bystanders aimlessly watched as an apartment building caught on fire and immediately thought of documenting in on social media before going to help get people out).

Babybackribs
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by Steely Gibbs on September 21, 2022 22:26

I believe that Cash's actions should've been governed by common sense in a way. The fact that he was unaware or inept at understanding the situation in the first place is shocking. A person's obligation to seeing something that stands out like this is to act. It isn't as easy as it sounds, but Cash didn't put in any effort into making that a reality. There are different rules depending on the wrong. Something that is seemingly minute in scale compared to what happened in "The Bad Samaritan" definitely has different responses. I feel like the levels start with telling someone to stop and trying to intervene passively. The type of response correlates to the type of wrongdoing. I think the rules should be as simply as "is it wrong by society?". Obviously there may be some exceptions and the people in the altercation can explain that if you try to intervene. I feel like there should always be an obligation to act, but that just isn't reasonable in my opinion. There should be an obligation to act majority of the time. The two readings I chose were "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Brian McGrory talked about how there wasn't an intervention on the 36 bus when a kid was getting hit. Everyone sat there awkwardly and didn't act. This ties into my point of that people should act most of the time as well as it being wrong by society. Having an obligation to act majority of the time means that some people do and some people don't given the situation. This would allow for the altercation to be handled with the best chance of diffusing it. Judy Harris wrote about bystanders watching a building burn and no one going to help. This falls into my idea of trying to quantify the scale of the incident. It doesn't seem to be on the same scale as the other two mentioned in this post. No one seems to be in harm's way directly. Someone did take the time to act in this reading, which is different from the last two. There wasn't just a nameless group of bystanders watching what happened. One question I have for this is why did someone react to the fire, but not the assaults? Were they less intimidated because they didn't think that the fire would actually hurt them? If anyone can suggest a reason for this, please continue the conversation.

Totally agree that there are different rules for how someone should intervene (ranging from seeing someone cheat on a test, all the way to a sexual assault or attempted murder)

Babybackribs
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by ilovesharks44 on September 22, 2022 07:46

I think that compassion should have governed Cash's actions. It's such a basic idea, but it’s apparently something that he chose to overlook at that moment. Without compassion, can someone really interact with other people in a human way? By turning a blind eye, David Cash rid himself of any compassion and let himself turn into a bystander. As a witness and a bystander, David Cash was, if not legally obligated, then at the very least morally obligated to stop his friend from committing this horrifying act. Just like in the case of the 36 bus, any simple gesture from a phone call to his father or 911 to a shake of Jeremy's shoulder to get his attention could have spared Sherrice Iverson's life and in the case of the 36 bus, saved the young boy from abuse.


In ‘The Samaritan’s Dilemma’, the author talks about the instinct that an onlooker feels when witnessing a situation where they could be of help. When people feel this gut instinct that they should jump into a situation, they are personally responsible for acting on it. Obviously David Cash felt this feeling or he wouldn’t have admitted to half heartedly trying to get Jeremy Strohmeyer’s attention. Unlike the examples in the passage, Cash chose not to act on this feeling and in doing so failed to fulfill his personal responsibility as a human being. There is obviously a range as to when that action is necessary, however, it extremely obvious that the feeling when witnessing a physical assault and/or murder is quite easily distinguishable from the feeling you may get when you witness someone cheating on a test or telling a small lie. While it will ultimately be an individual decision (to act or to not act), the obvious truth is that as a person with human feelings, you will experience that gut instinct and know when to step in.

Compassion is definitely one of the key factors in being able to interact and connect with someone on a much deeper level.

palmtreepuppy
Posts: 2

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think that in this case what should've governed Cash's actions should've been human instinct. Not only was he a bystander to this horrific crime but he was also a best friend to the person doing this which somehow makes it worse. Although the optimal thing for a person witnessing something like this would be to hopefully step in and doing something about the thing they are bystanding. But if they don't do anything, at the very least they act should at least have some affect on them and make them think but as seen in the case of David Cash watching the murder of Sherrice Iverson, neither of these really seemed to apply. Although Cash did claim that he "gave him [Jeremy] a look" that seemed to be the extent of the impact of the act on him. Even to this day there seems to be no impact as he said that if he were to be put in the same situation again he wouldn't change a thing did differently. To me, yes I think there are different levels of "wrong" when it comes to events. One example of something that doesn't really need a bystander to turn into in upstander is when a classmate, that could be a friend or not, is cheating on a test or on homework (as a student on a previous post had said) is very different than watching your best friend hurt a 7 year old child, as an adult, but to then know that that friend had murdered that child and still doing nothing about it. To me it is mind baffling how Cash could continue on without even an ounce of remorse for not doing anything on that fateful night. I think some rules that should govern the decision to act or not should be just the moral ethics of stepping up when we see something but the issue with that is we all have different versions of moral ethics. But I think the only reason that a legal rule could or should be implemented is if someones life is in danger, such as Sherrice's case or the case of the little boy on the 36 bus. The story “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” by Brian McGrory was one of the stories that I had read for this assignment and when reading through I couldn't help but noticing the line "Maybe I'm out of place. Maybe it's just a family thing and I shouldn't intervene.' So I sat back down"," which seemed so eerily similar to when David Cash said that it just wasn't his place and that he didn't need to. The other text that I read was "The Trick to Acting Heroically,” written by Erez Yoeli and David Rand. This story seemed to stick out to me as well because it was in a different country and continent but Americans stepped up and helped and part of me can't help but wonder why is it taught in the army to help others yet we still see so many bystanders in out own countries but also others. Although there seems to be no good answer to any of these questions there should always being those asking even more questions.

FlyingCelestialDragon
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 2

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

Cash's actions are seen as horrible to us, but I think there were good reasons why he did that. I'm not saying what he did was right but I think Cash did not turn in his friend because that was his friend. I'm pretty sure a lot of people would try to defend their friends and protect them when things go wrong. I think that's what Cash was thinking, Jeremy was his best friend. For example, in that scenario in class we did about witnessing our friend cheat, no one in the class voted to tell a teacher about it. That is because we wouldn't want to put our friends in trouble. If we did that would be a betrayal of the friendship and their trust. I think that was Cash's thought process when he witnessed what Jeremy do to the little girl.

When a person witnesses another wrong, they have many obligations to turn the person in. Especially something like what Jeremy did. If the person that witnessed what Jeremy was not Cash, they would 99.9% turn Jeremy in. But if the situation was not severe as this, like witnessing someone stealing some pencils. Not many would do anything, but probably go tell their friends/family about it and that's all. It's hard to identify the "rules" that ought to govern the decision to act or witness. But there are things that cross the line that needs to be acted on. That would be something that is hurting the person, you, or other people. When there is human life on the line, there is a need to act. Things like stealing are bad but not many people would act on it, unless it's something big scale like stealing from a diamond shop.

In "The Bad Samaritan" by Deborah Stone, I find it interesting how someone was badly hurt and had to quit his job because he had stopped a helped someone. Because he had stopped to help that person, it had almost cost him his life. But he said that he would still continue to help others in the future. I find it fascinating how someone can still want to help people after almost dying from helping someone in the past. And then at the end of it, a man said that some people lack common sense and he wouldn't let his daughter help strangers in every situation. I partially agree with this. We shouldn't be helping every stranger we see in every situation. That's a very bad thing if you do. You also have to think about the situation and evaluate it before jumping in and helping. The other that I read is "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age" by Judy Harris. I feel like most people in our generation are bystanders. Like the man in the article, he saw the house burning but instead of trying to get help by calling the fire department or trying to warn the people in the house, he started taking pictures. He had a phone in his hand, he could have done something maybe call 911. But no, he took pictures. I find this irritating. The line between witnessing or acting is very unclear.

Snailaligator
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

The Dilemma of the Bad Samaritan

I think that Cash’s actions should have been governed by a basic sympathy for other human beings. In this extremely inhumane case, instead of stopping the situation, it put Cash’s mind more at ease to just turn away from the problem and argue that it was not his place to intervene. I believe that people are morally obligated to do whatever they believe is “right” even if it brings them temporary discomfort, however the legal obligation to act on something becomes much more complicated. In a case like Cash’s, where stepping in and stopping the situation is not a major threat to his own safety, being a bystander and allowing it to happen could almost be comparable to someone controlling a switch that would almost effortlessly change the outcome. It reminds me of a type of trolley problem with no person on the consequential side. I do believe there are different “rules” depending on the nature of the “wrong”, but I think that cases where people are upstanders are more dependent on the individual rather than the situation at hand. In the “Bystander Effect in the Cell Phone Age” article, someone was being a bystander valuing taking pictures over saving lives. It is true that other people came to the scene in time, but relying on that put the victims of the fire at a much greater risk. In the “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” a group of people witnessed a small child getting physically abused and not one person stepped in. Again, they were relying on other people stepping in and were too uncomfortable to be active themselves, however in this case no one budged.

There are legal rules that protect people who are upstanders. They are called the good Samaritan laws and they provide legal protection for someone who tries helping another in an emergency situation. There are also laws that protect bystanders, claiming that someone can not get in legal trouble for not acting. I think that bystanders should use the fact that they are legally protected when they act to help govern their decision, and not look at the flip side and make the claim that since they are unaffected legally, they should just be a witness. I think our obligation to act has to come from within. Everyone has their own set of values that they have either constructed themselves or absorbed from people around them. I personally feel that if something is going against what I believe to be right, I am very often obligated to act. I can understand why people would never feel an obligation to act because it is their own life and their own choice to make, but people should be consistent with how they want to be perceived and the choices they make to demonstrate that.

Snailaligator
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by palmtreepuppy on September 22, 2022 16:34

I think that in this case what should've governed Cash's actions should've been human instinct. Not only was he a bystander to this horrific crime but he was also a best friend to the person doing this which somehow makes it worse. Although the optimal thing for a person witnessing something like this would be to hopefully step in and doing something about the thing they are bystanding. But if they don't do anything, at the very least they act should at least have some affect on them and make them think but as seen in the case of David Cash watching the murder of Sherrice Iverson, neither of these really seemed to apply. Although Cash did claim that he "gave him [Jeremy] a look" that seemed to be the extent of the impact of the act on him. Even to this day there seems to be no impact as he said that if he were to be put in the same situation again he wouldn't change a thing did differently. To me, yes I think there are different levels of "wrong" when it comes to events. One example of something that doesn't really need a bystander to turn into in upstander is when a classmate, that could be a friend or not, is cheating on a test or on homework (as a student on a previous post had said) is very different than watching your best friend hurt a 7 year old child, as an adult, but to then know that that friend had murdered that child and still doing nothing about it. To me it is mind baffling how Cash could continue on without even an ounce of remorse for not doing anything on that fateful night. I think some rules that should govern the decision to act or not should be just the moral ethics of stepping up when we see something but the issue with that is we all have different versions of moral ethics. But I think the only reason that a legal rule could or should be implemented is if someones life is in danger, such as Sherrice's case or the case of the little boy on the 36 bus. The story “Nightmare on the 36 Bus” by Brian McGrory was one of the stories that I had read for this assignment and when reading through I couldn't help but noticing the line "Maybe I'm out of place. Maybe it's just a family thing and I shouldn't intervene.' So I sat back down"," which seemed so eerily similar to when David Cash said that it just wasn't his place and that he didn't need to. The other text that I read was "The Trick to Acting Heroically,” written by Erez Yoeli and David Rand. This story seemed to stick out to me as well because it was in a different country and continent but Americans stepped up and helped and part of me can't help but wonder why is it taught in the army to help others yet we still see so many bystanders in out own countries but also others. Although there seems to be no good answer to any of these questions there should always being those asking even more questions.

I agree that the fact that it was Cash's best friend made it worse. I think that people could have a harder time intervening with strangers in a physical situation because they do not know each other, but since Cash knew his friend well and claimed that he was "out of it" or acting unusual, it should have made stepping up even easier for him.

Snailaligator
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 4

Originally posted by autumnpeaches on September 21, 2022 18:21

I believe that one's morals should govern one's actions, and that depends on how low your bottom line is. Some people's bottom line stops at minuscule things like cheating, littering, or even bad-talking a teacher. In those cases, they would immediately tell the teacher or confront the perpetrator themselves. My bottom line is pretty low. I wouldn't call someone out for cheating, but I'd definitely call the police when someone's dying on the streets. However, in David Cash's case, he simply had no morals at all. Not only did he not stop Jeremy, but he also didn't tell anyone, didn't call for help, nor did he feel remorse. I'd like to say that his situation is vastly different from the two articles I've read, the first being "Nightmare on the 36 Bus" and the second "The Bystander Effect in the Cellphone Age". Both articles discuss how we, as humans, often don't help when there are other people around because we think that "there's always going to be someone else who will do it". Whether you agree with this line of logic is up to you, but David Cash was the only other person in the bathroom besides the victim, Sherrice, and the perpetrator, Jeremy, yet he didn't do anything. Therefore, this logic of the "bystander effect" does not apply to him.


I'm a little ashamed to say this, but I've also been a part of the "bystander effect" at least once in my life. Whether you see people arguing on the MBTA, students cheating on their tests, or even teachers smoking right outside the school during their break, I simply turn a blind eye and put it to the back of my mind because it's not my problem. I'm not going to intervene in a fight and get punched myself. It's different though when it's a first-degree crime. How do you define a first-degree crime? Well in my books it's sexual assault, physical assault, kidnapping, and murder. Then you're morally obligated to call 911 or intervene (if you have the courage). Imagine you're alone with your best friend whom you've known for YEARS, just for him to do something like that, and you won't even stop him? Who cares if you have AP English together, can't you see what he's doing is morally wrong? The story of Nightmare on the 36 Bus was truly disappointing. Didn't those people realize that if 4 or 5 people banded together, they could've taken down the abuser? I mean, how strong can 1 man be when compared to 5 people. Yet they all stood and watched, and not one person call the police after. The bystander effect is truly terrifying.

I agree with the fear of intervening and possibly getting hurt yourself and I think that's the part that makes this case so awful. Cash clearly was not putting himself in very much danger if he chose to intervene, and he left out of discomfort rather than fear.

johndoe
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 2

Bad Samaritan

- I think that Cash's actions should have been governed by the moral values any decent person should have. Any person in a situation similar to this has an obligation to do whatever they can to stop the perpetrator, and if that doesn't work, then they should immediately alert the authorities. When the wrong is raping and murdering a seven year old girl, no there are not different rules. Deborah Stone claims that there is bias in most incidents. Could David Cash have had a bias against African Americans, or women, that would make him not take any sort of action against this?

- There are no legal rules about this, but there is a moral code to abide by. The obligation to act depends entirely on the level of the crime, say shoplifting vs assault, where if it is non violent it is up to the bystanders discretion whether or not they want to report it. "The Bystander Effect in The Cellphone Age" points out that most people just seem to stand there and watch. In a case like David Cash's, standing there and watching while not obliging to a general moral code that all decent humans abide by was not the correct course of action.

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